Question for Expats - What do you need/want/miss (business ideas)

Hi Folks,

My husband & I have been thinking about moving to Panama for some time.  We are mid-career and would still need to work.  We are exploring the possibility of starting a business that would serve the needs of other expats in Panama. 

We are wondering what needs the expat community may have that are not currently met.  We hoping to brainstorm and possibly generate potential business ideas

So expats, I am wondering if you'd be willing to share thoughts on what you wish you could find, or see, or do, or have in Panama.


Welcome to Expat-blog,Sallyreb :)

Hope that members soon inform you about business opportunities in Panama.

All the best.


Here's some needs....a banking system that is modern and has employees that know what they are doing. Multibank and HSBC are the worst. Stay away from them. A company to ship items BACK to the States that doesn't rip you off with their rates and poor service, like Hot Express. A new PUSH in Las Tablas would be nice. There ya go for a start.

You may want to consider another country. This place is a nightmare to get anything done right and efficiently.

Good Luck....

Our family moved here 1 month ago.  The banking system is terrible.  We had to give the bank 11k just to establish a line of credit.  They hold this $ for a year.  No checking account - just a savings account so when I need to pay for something, we have to go to the bank and get cash.  Did I mention that the account is only in my husband's name since I don't have a job?  Our past credit (which is flawless)from the U.S. means nothing here. 
We could have used help with locating places to live with a real estate agent that had our best interest in mind and not theirs. There isn't much online that is helpful about getting established and the rules and regulations. 
For instance, I have to return to the U.S. with two children (ages 3 and 1) within 90 days until our residency is situated.  It is a nightmare traveling with children this age not to mention that we have to do it during the holiday season. 
A "how-to" guide to relocating would have been a helpful resource.  I found out that it is a good idea to register with the Embassy so I went online and figured that out on my own but no one told me that I could do this.  I'm sure that there is much more that I should be doing but I just don't know about it. 
How and where to hook up with Expats?  It would be nice to get together with groups from home.  Good pre-schools in our area? There is no where to find these resources.

Thanks, scubacher and jim, for your comments.  I appreciate it.

Though I am pretty sure I cannot change the banking system or start my own bank it is helpful to know what the frustrations are.  Understanding what ex-pats are struggling with will give me ideas.

I have thought about starting some sort of ex-pat community center.  A place to get information and connect with others, but hadn't thought further about the type of information people would want/need.  Also, not certain if people would be willing to pay a membership fee to join something like this and other than charging for membership I'm not sure how I would generate an income. 

I hope other ex-pats offer up ideas.  It is helpful to hear from folks.

Sheetul, thanks for the welcome!

Thanks, Sally

Hello Scubacher and welcome to :)
You might have noticed that we have foreseen the space for the "how-to guide" on our website (see the menu on the left) but for this we need the help of people living in the country.
They have the experience and know the way.
So we invite each and every member to contribute by writing articles for the guide, after having verified the information.
In advance a big thank you for sharing any useful information with future expats.
Have a nice day further

Scubacher (and others),

Thank you-it has seemed to me that there is a great deal missing from books and articles I have read regarding relocating to Panama. I am talking about the nuts and bolts of every day life. One gets snippets of the ups and downs but I would love to see the kinds of things you mentioned spelled out.

Is there such information available to someone considering relocation to Panama so that I wouldn't have to reinvent the wheel?


I'm Angie from Canada and I two am hoping to relocate. So I'd be interested in us "Newbies" setting something up. As I've been reading though the Forum, and there are a lot of us.I would think there must be any easy way that to share information now.

  I know from expat friends  that pretty well wherever they went they would have an American, Canadain...........Club.(these were in the Far East)
The different clubs would then host a formal dinner like American Thanksgiving Perhaps 1 a month.
Within the clubs they had a newsletter,welcome wagon,golf, networking........... ??
Most members were wives of guys who worked in offshore oil rigs. So it was more a girl thing.

When I lived in PV Mexico they had a International club. The main thing that I know about is they wrote a cookbook and proceeds when to a child's charity. The other club also did quite a bit of charity work for local programs.
The possibilities are endless. And I would say Ye to membership fee. As everything costs $$, you need a meeting spot, coffee????
I just reread your message, I know that these were all volunteer, so I'm not sure of a business.
    That's enough for me today. As I'm a hunt/poker.
    Please feel free to write back I will try to get answers for any questions you may have.

Did you have a cross cultural program prior to moving?

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